Committee on Population Screening

The task of the Committee on Population Screening is twofold: to identify developments in population screening and assess permit applications in connection with the Population Screening Act.

Identifying developments

Considerable attention is given to the early detection of diseases and research into risk factors. Scientific developments are occurring at a rapid rate. This has consequences for existing screening programmes and can provide opportunities for new ones. The Health Council of the Netherlands monitors these developments and their potential consequences (in the nature of the advisory report Screening: between hope and hype) and reports on them. Activities in this context can range from monitoring developments in the area of screening tests to reporting on ethical issues.

Advice on population screening

The responsible minister of Health, Welfare and Sports asks the Health Council for advice before considering a new population screening or changes to existing population screening. The permanent Committee Population Screening deals with these scientific advice questions. The Center for Population Screening of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) handles the implementation issues. Where possible, the Health Council and RIVM work together, on the understanding that their advice is drawn up independently of each other and published separately.

Assessing permit applications

The Health Council of the Netherlands has a statutory duty to assess permit applications in connection with the Population Screening Act. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport decides on such applications. The Population Screening Act was put into effect on July First 1996 and is intended to protect people from population screening studies that could pose a risk to health. The Population Screening Act provides for a permit system for population screening involving the use of ionising radiation, concerning cancer or concerning serious diseases or abnormalities for which no treatment is possible. Permit applications can concern a national population screening program or changes therein, or scientific research in a population screening that may or may not be nationally implememnted.

This activity is a permanent part of the Prevention focus area.

The membership of the committee may differ from one advice to another. Because a permanent committee addresses more than one topic, potential conflicts of interests of committee members will be re-evaluated at the start of each advisory process. The composition of the Committee by advice can be found on the last page of the advisory report.


  • Prof. dr. O.M. Dekkers, Professor in Clinical Epidemiology; Specialist in Internal Medicine, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Leiden, chairperson
  • Prof. dr. M.C. Cornel, Professor of Community Genetics and Public Health Genomics, Amsterdam UMC, vice chairperson
  • Dr. E.M.M. Adang, Health Economist, Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • Prof. M.J.M. Broeders, Professor Personalized Cancer Screening, Radboudumc, Nijmegen
  • Prof. dr. H.H.J. Das, professor of communication & persuasion, Radboud University, Nijmegen 
  • Dr. mr. Y. Drewes, Physician, Coordinator Master Vitality and Ageing, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Leiden
  • Dr. P.J.M. Elders, Assistant Professor, Department of General Practice and Elderly Care and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. A. Krom, PhD, ethicist, Ethics Institute, Utrecht University
  • Prof. dr. I.M. van Langen, Professor in Clinical Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen
  • Mr. dr. M.C. Ploem, Lecturer of Health Law, Amsterdam UMC
  • Dr. J.J. van Tol-Geerdink, Researcher Shared Decision Making in Oncology, Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • Prof. dr.  J. Twisk, Professor of Applied Biotatistics, Amsterdam UMC


  • P.J. ten Broeke, Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague
  • J. van Geffen, MSc, Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague
  • M.G. Kleefkens, Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague
  • R.H. Thöene MSc, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven

Scientific Secretaries:

  • Dr. C.A. Aitken, Health Council, The Hague
  • Dr. J.D. van der Berg, Health Council, The Hague
  • Mr. dr. R.E. van Hellemondt, Health Council, The Hague